The game is primarily conceived of as a new way of doing literary studies. The game consists of interventions, changes, additions, and commentaries on the book.


The emphasis is on making explicit the assumptions about critical practice, textual interpretation, and reading (in the most fundamental sense) that remain unacknowledged, or at least largely unexplored, in a conventional approach to literary studies.


To achieve this goal, the game provides one set of rules for approaching Ivanhoe (as a discourse field of interrelated textual, visual, cultural, and critical artifacts) through a game strategy. The game is played in a digital writing space in which every “move” involves production of text as a performative act of interpretation. The game is fundamentally dialogical, although the units of player interaction comprise overlapping narrative fields.  The motivation to play comes through engagement with the unfolding of critical and creative processes in an intertextual environment. Challenges and other internal rules and logics (as well as certain random elements) provide mechanisms for constraining or permitting moves and allowing players to win or lose through a system of points and value.  Crucial to the entire undertaking is the central principle of making explicit the logic on which an interpretive text is produced, or, to put it another way, formalizing the knowledge representation within the field of interpretive practice. The game encourages the widest possible spectrum of interpretive activity (creative writing, critical analysis, scholarly gloss, visual response, use of other media) all of which are seen as possibilities for interpretive and critical practice.


1. Identities: Players, Roles, and Characters


There are three kinds of textual identity in the game. Each gains points differently; each has different constraints, each has different ways of operating (see Section 4).


    1.1 Players: the person(s) playing the game


    1.2. Roles: A role is a persona, an artifice, self-consciously assumed and manipulated; an enunciative entity


    1.3 Characters: Creation of an enunciated textual presence, assumed by/manipulated by a role. (Note: a character may or may not be identical to a role, but the player must specify the role and the character, and a text can only be assigned to one or the other at a time.)


2. Textual Practices


There are two kinds of textual practice in the game: Player Files and Moves. Each gains points differently, each has different constraints. Both are fundamental constituents of the game and count towards final scores. Both are part of the work of critical intervention that is the heart of the game. Textual practices include, but are not limited to: written, visual, audio, video etc. modes.


     2.1 Player Files: Premises/terms: the making explicit of assumptions, practices, strategies, choices made about roles, characters, references, moves – any element of the game can have a corresponding entry in a player file providing justification.  The role of the player file is to explain the performance terms of the player.  Ideally, there is a link between any move and some entry (or entries) in the player file, even if that entry is used to justify a number of moves.


     2.2 Moves: These are the textual moves produced by the players.  They may include any mode of textuality, such as those associated with fictional narrative, prose, poetry, description, conversation,  as well as "scholarly" modes: footnotes, citation, bibliographic research, historical and biographical research, critical writing, image analysis, etc.).


            Types of Moves:

            2.2.1    Insert

            2.2.2.   Contradict

2.2.3        Interline

2.2.4        Annotate

2.2.5        Leap

2.2.6        Link

2.2.7        New moves: a player gets point credit for inventing a new move. If a new move is introduced into a game and is used by other players, they pay a point price for using it in the first game in which the move is used.



3. Operation/Parameters of Players, Roles, and Characters


3.1 Players:

3.1.1 Each person involved in the game is a player who endures for an entire game.

3.1.2 A player by definition keeps a player file.

3.1.3.Players can create roles and/or characters, and roles and/or characters can invoke creation of other roles and characters.

3.1.4 Managing the Player File Players must keep their terms and premises in their player files.  These files contain information about roles and/or characters, and might also be the repository of notes from or by roles and/or characters. Player Files are kept private and may be hidden, except when used in answer to a challenge or when called for exposure through a random command. (See Section 6: Random Events). Player Files contain character and role profiles and strategy profiles. Player files are also the repository of “player points”.  These are the points used by players to make moves.


3.1.5 Players assume roles and/or characters that are created through textual practice.

3.1.6 Players and player files do not acquire value.  But the player file acts as a kind of “bank” to hold (a) character files and role files that contain vested points; and (b) a deposit account of player points that aren’t invested in roles or characters.  The player file is also important for protecting profiles, role and character files in the event of a challenge.


            3.2 Roles

                        3.2.1 A newly assumed role must be played for at least five moves (unless


3.2.2 . As an enunciative entity, a role is instantiated in textual practice.

3.2.3 A role can be explicitly defined and supported by entries in a Player File. This is not a requirement, but will be useful in answering challenges.

3.2.4 A role can be virtual – that is, although it is enunciated, it need not be named or made explicit.  If it is challenged, the player has to make the formal logic of the role explicit within three moves. (See Section 5: Challenges)

3.2.5  A role can be historical or fictional; it can exist in both spaces; it can be the creation of a player or a character;

                        3.2.6 Roles acquire role value (see Section 4, Values & Points).


            3.3. Characters

3.3.1 As an enunciated presence, a character is subject to very few restraints in its development.  However, a character is subject to a challenge on the grounds of (in)consistency, (in)credibility, and any other charge that can be brought by a challenger. (See Section 4, Challenges)

3.3.2 A Character may be supported in a Player File through explicit terms, premises, and documentation. This is not a requirement, but it can be useful in defending against a challenge.

                        3.3.3 Characters acquire character value.


            3.4 Miscellaneous operations involving Players, Roles, and Characters

3.4.1 Players, Roles, and Characters all have historical, geographic, and biographical data in their player files.  If these are not made explicit it leaves the player vulnerable in a challenge.

3.4.2 Retiring a Role or Character is allowed after five moves and the full point value goes permanently into the banked role or character file.  If the character/role is retired voluntarily before five moves, then the played value returns to player points (i.e., the played points do not get vested in the retired role/character). If the role or character is transferred in a challenge, then the player giving up the role has the option of keeping those points “vested” at a  percentage (See Section 4.4.4) or liquidating them into player points to be put back into the game/play.



4. Value and Points

Value must always reflect the fundamental intellectual goal of the game. If any player considers that the accrual of value has been at cross purposes to the goals of intellectual inquiry, critical interpretation, fun, and creative scholarly practice (that is, if the value has been for purely monetary, commercial, or otherwise pernicious purposes), then the game can be called for termination.  (This is known as “Unholy Termination”.)


            4.1 Each player begins the game with 1000 points to put into play. These have to be vested  through moves, or through random events.


4.2 Every move uses up points or gains points, or both.


4.3 All points are stored in the player’s directory, attached to either a role or character file, or banked until invested in a role or character. 

4.3.1 Points cannot be counted twice (as a role and character for instance),  even when it might seem conceptually consistent to do so).

4.3.2 A role or character file acquires value as it accrues lines or references/links (these are created by the player or bought or captured from another player).

4.3.3 A player file cannot be bought, sold, captured, or lost.

4.3.4 A character or role can be bought, sold, captured, or lost.

4.3.5 A player creates line value by writing. Once a player has used up 500 player points in a line value mode, they have to sell lines off OR, if they keep writing, these lines will have no value.

4.3.6  A player can create value through references, each of which must have some kind of actual grounding in scholarly research/work/citation.  Reference values have a higher per unit accrual rate (See Section


            4.4 Accruing line or reference value

4.4.1 Line value is a literal count of the number of lines produced in a particular file and line value is to be counted according to an agreed upon standard (a default value is 12pt. Times New Roman in a 6” line)  Not more than 500 player points (or 50 percent of total vested character or role value) can be counted as line value. 

4.4.2  Reference value includes links as well as texts/images, citations etc. but reference value is defined by having a researched aspect.  Not more than 500 player points (or 50 percent of total vested character or role value) can be counted as reference value.

4.4.3        Reference value accrues at three times the rate of line value (every line of reference/citation counts as 3 points, every line of line value counts as 1 point).

4.4.4        Except in the instance of an early challenge, role and character points are only “vested” after five moves. At the time of a challenge, the points are assessed by % according to the number of moves invested in the role/character (20%, 40%, 60%, 80%  etc. after move 1, 2, 3, or 4).


            4.5 Using Points: points can be used to:

                        4.5.1   Make challenges

                        4.5.2   Buy roles

4.5.3   Buy references, links, permissions.  If another player locates a desirable reference for your role or character, you can purchase it for a certain price.  The value added to the character or role is 50% of purchase price. A player who has been offered a reference or link can only obtain that link from the person who originally offered it. 

4.5.4  Accessorize a character.  A player can write part of a character or role and offer it for sale to another player. No player is obliged to buy the accessory, but if they do, they spend player points. The value of the role is increased by 50% of the price of the accessory. These added points become role or character points.

4.5.5 Pay fines (for violation of some rule of consistency, honesty, accuracy etc.). Fines are put into a Game Bank to be gained by chance operations or random events.


            4.6 Final Scoring . One goal of the game is to get as much of the 1000 player points invested in role and character files. At the termination of a game, the unused  player points are deducted from the player’s score.



5. Challenges

            5.1 Challenges can be made on the following bases:

5.1.1 Factual / historical / scholarly challenges.

5.1.2 Discourse dysfunction (inconsistency of style, character, narrative sense, plot, motivation etc. etc.).

5.1.3 Aesthetic dysfunction or other reasons given by a player. 


            5.2 Challenge procedures

                         5.2.1 A Challenge can be made at any time and always requires that the

players justify the challenge through an exegesis.  The challenger has to provide an exegesis of the role/character, and the challengee is so required only if s/he wants to defend against the challenge.

 5.2.2 If a challenge is made, the value of the challenged role (see Section 4, Values and Points) is put into contestation.

5.2.3  Two immediate outcomes are possible, both responses from the challenged player. If the challenge is not resisted. In this case, the challenger pays  the challenged player the point value of the role/character and assumes the role /character him/herself. The challenged player banks the role value as player points. The challenger then plays the role/character. The challenger keeps the acquired role/character point value and adds to it through new moves.  The challenger who takes on this new role/character must play it for five moves in order to gain role/character vested points.  NOTE:  If a player retires a role or character by choice or in response to a challenge before investing five moves, the points returned to the player count only as player points.  And the player receives back only the number of points s/he invested through their own moves.  A player who has assumed a role or character in a challenge will gain, if that player completes five moves of vesting a character, the points s/he vested plus the value left in the role/character when the challenge was issued.  The challenged player then must assume another role, either by random selection or by choosing a role. (If a player takes a new role through random process, that role comes with a certain randomly assigned amount of points that are additional to the player’s original points. [This is a gamble – the player might get a horrible character and have to play them for five moves in order to be vested.]) Play continues with each player working in his/her new role.       If the challenge is rejected. In this case the challenged player must produce a move that illustrates the role as s/he proposes to keep developing it.  The challenger then assesses this response: if the assessment is negative, the challenger then must produce a move in the role as s/he proposes to develop it.  The challenged player may then choose to accept the challenge (in which case rule 1. above takes force); or s/he may reject the challenge and play continues, with both players now undertaking their respective roles as if they were beginning anew.  The challenger, however, now has the option of assuming a new role of his/her own choosing, and both players must "cash in" their roles.  Each player gets player points for any moves s/he made during the challenge play.  If the assessment is positive, rule 1 comes into force.


5.3 Free Challenges.

                        5.3.1 A player is limited to THREE free challenges per game.

                        5.3.2 In a free challenge, there is no point value staked at the outset


            5.4 Challenging a Virtual Role.  A player may decide that another player is vesting in a character or role that has no profile in the player file.

                        5.4.1 If it turns out that a role is virtual, that is, that there is no formal logic in the player file at the time of the challenge, then EACH player is allowed to work on developing a logic and to continue creation of the role for three moves.

                        5.4.2 If there is an adequate logic in the player file for a virtual role, then the challenger loses a turn and play continues.


6. Random Events.  Several types of random event are possible:

            6.1 the value of a role being played is arbitrarily raised or lowered

6.2 a player is arbitrarily assigned a different role, or forced to choose another role

6.3. cancellation of a move and loss of its added value

6.4. call for a player to move again before the response move of another player 6.5. call for a player to lose a turn of play

6.6. call for a player to switch moves to another textspace

6.7. pass (which may or may not be used) to switch textspaces

6. 8. call for a player's move to be limited in some specified way



7. Termination: Winning, Losing, Ties, and Impasses

            7.1 Winning

                        7.1.1 Winning big

                        7.6.2 Kind of winning

            7.2 Losing

                        7.2.1 Really losing

                        7.2.2 Forfeit

            7.3 Having a tie

                        7.3.1 Happy ties

                        7.3.2 Breaking ties



            7.4 Calls for termination

                        7.4.1 Satisfactory termination

                        7.4.2 Hostile termination

                           Termination because of an impasse

                           Termination based on violation of rules

            7.4.3 Holy and unholy termination




            The accrued value of any single character or role cannot exceed 75% of total points accrued at any time. 


That role or character can continue to gain value, up to 75% of total value in a player’s file, but that value has to come through references/links.)